Tag Archives: Kakashi

NaNo 18, Day 7: Princess, But No Successor

The sun seemed especially bright outside when she stepped out. Though that might have been because it was hitting the waves as it set, throwing golden light wherever it still touched. Tugging her hat where it wouldn’t glare quite as much, Evangeline pulled out her map for a quick consult. Tapping Cyllage City absently with her pointer finger, she eyed the route that she was expected to take and made a face. It was just long enough, she didn’t want to risk it. Folding the map back up, she set it into her bag and climbed up on her bag to make it back to the Pokemon Center. She’d stay here for the night and call Aunt Aya, then set out in the morning.

Nurse Joy was happy to see her again, and congratulated her on the Gym win. Flushing, Evangeline thanked her and quickly found a corner of the Center to hide in for dinner while seeing to her Pokemon. Cerise was eager to show off a new move she’d figured out, and the others were slowly starting to adapt to the new friend, to Evangeline’s sweet relief. While they played around a center rug that had a series of Pokemon-safe toys, Evangeline took off her Caster and set it on the table, rearranging it so it would be able to take a steady picture. Unlike with her calls home to her parents, she didn’t have to have a landline connection to reach Aunt Aya in Vaniville. All she needed was her sequence, which she’d gotten when they’d bought the Casters in the first place.

The screen fussed for a moment as it alerted her aunt to the incoming call, but at last, a holo-projection of her great-aunt from the shoulders up appeared in blue. “Hey there, Evangeline! I was hoping you’d call soon.”

“Hi, Aunt Aya,” she said with a shy smile. “How are things for you in Vanville?”

She waved her hand dismissively. “Same old, same old. I’m actually enjoying this little vacation, if you can believe it. It’s giving me a lot of time to consider the Academy’s curriculum and how we can make it better. I’m usually so involved with the day-to-day side of things, I don’t get to think about it.”

“Well that’s good,” Evangeline said, feeling something inside her unclench as she realized that her mother’s request wasn’t upsetting Aya’s life like she was afraid.

“Enough about my boring vacation in suburbia, how is your journey going? Where are you?” Aunt Aya asked eagerly, leaning forward. Much like the rest of her family, she hadn’t gone on a Pokemon journey or really traveled much, just settling in to family expectations. A part of Evangeline wondered if her great-aunt was trying to live vivaciously through her.

Unfortunately, Evangeline knew she was rather boring, so it wasn’t going to be that much excitement. Not to mention there was a good chunk of current events that she was desperately hoping her great-aunt wasn’t going to find out about. “Cyllage City, it’s up on the coast,” she said, then ducked her head. “I faced my second Gym today.”

“Oooh, how did it go?” Aya asked, and wouldn’t let Evangeline say just fine. She asked questions and commented until Evangeline told her the whole story, and even insisted on seeing her badge case now that there were two inside of it. She rested her chin in the balm of her hand, sighing. “Your parents are going to be so happy that this is going so well. I’m really proud of you, you know?”

Evangeline flushed in embarrassment at the praise, and a knot in her stomach rolled. She didn’t think she was worth all of this fuss. She was good, sure, she also grew up in gyms. And she’d lost Cho, and struggled with Felix for a bit there. (He was still a moody little bugger.) But she didn’t think she could tell Aunt Aya that. “I called my parents last night,” she finally settled for changing the subject slightly. “Mother is with Grandfather until you’re time to call, but Father answered.”

“Ah, how is the great feather-butt?” Aya asked with a tsk, making Evangeline giggle. That seemed to be enough for Aya, who waved her hand. “Never mind, I’ll see for myself soon enough. So Janine went to go see my big brother. She is such a daddy’s girl still.” Pausing, Aya murmured softly, “I wonder if that’s genetic?”

“I am not a daddy’s girl,” Evangeline argued, mortified.

“No, but you get along with him better than your mother,” Aya pointed out with a sad little smile. “I can’t blame you, I’ve seen how hard it is for you to fit the role she wants, remember? Actually, I think both of them have smothered you a little. It’s why I was so in favor of you going on this journey.”

“Father seemed better with it, last night,” she admitted.

That made Aya pause. “Well, good. He should be. You’re doing great, Evangeline, and you need to believe that. Part of this journey is you figuring out who you are, so you can figure out where your place is.” She leaned forward. “And that may not be in Violet or Fuschia City. Okay?”

Evangeline’s mind felt greasy even considering it. “But, but Father, and Mother…”

“Can only tolerate each other and need to figure that out already,” Aya said firmly. “When Koga retires from the Elite Four, I guarantee you he is going to want his Gym back, and where will your mother be then? And both of your parents could use some more variety to their team structures. And if they took over Violet City Gym together, maybe they’d have other children to take the pressure off of you. They are both young yet–”

“I’m not listening to this!” Evangeline squealed, covering her ears. “Aunt Aya!”

She snickered but subsided for her great-niece’s sake. “The point is, let that pressure stay back in Kanto and Johto, okay? Yes, you are still their gyms’ little princess, and you always will be, but you don’t have to be anyone’s successor unless you want to be.”

It made a lot of sense. Father had never shown any interest in anyone else, and… Well, it was hard for her to say on Mother. And hadn’t that been her complaint, wanting to do more than just the one solid type that they both wouldn’t budge from? She rubbed her forehead, feeling actually more stressed even thinking about not trying to fit into either role her parents wanted.

“But I’ve said too much.” Aya flashed her a V-for-Victory sign. “Don’t worry about us, okay? Keep up your good work! The rest will sort itself out.”

Evangeline sheepishly returned the symbol. “I’ll do my best,” she promised.

“Good. Now where is that Froakie of yours?”

Hearing himself mentioned, Kakashi had no problem leaving the play to run over to the table, craning his head around Evangeline’s shoulder. “Hi, Aunt Aya!” he greeted waving his hand as the Caster picked him up for the holo on the other side of the call.

“Oh! Well he isn’t a Froakie at all!” Aya laughed, clapping her hands in delight. “I’d let Nidoqueen say hi, but she’d probably burst into tears, and I’d never get her calmed down. Next time, okay? Or maybe you can pay a visit if you circle back around!”

“I’ll see what happens,” Evangeline promised. “Call you in a few days?”

“I’ll be waiting,” Aya said and waved good-bye before the call ended.

Shaking her head, Evangeline set the Caster back on her wrist. “Part of Lumiose was shut down when we were there, and I’m sure they have a gym. We can backtrack from there to see Aunt Aya,” she promised Kakashi quietly.

“She’d like that,” he agreed with a nod. “We can take Felix too, and some of the others to show that you know how to have diversity. That’ll help her lay hints on your parents.”

Giving her starter a glare, Evangeline lifted her bangs out of the way to give it more effect. “You are not going to help my great-aunt play matchmaker with my parents, are you?”

“If it’ll make you happy, I will. And anything that makes you less stressed is good in my book.” He stuck out his little pink tongue at her. “But unless they can understand me, I’ll have to be subtle. Sneaky. Like a–”

“Please do not say a ninja,” Evangeline groaned. “I get enough of that whenever I visit Mother.”

“…You know, I’m not even going to ask. But yes, like a ninja.” He puffed up his chest.

She laughed a little. “Even if you are the wrong type, Mother is going to love you.”

No matter how much Kakashi pleaded and demanded, Evangeline refused to explain what she meant. She instead focused on getting everyone to bed at a decent time so they could get going early in the morning. She had a lot ground to catch-up on!

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NaNo 18, Day 6: Cyllage City Gym Battle

Evangeline stumbled to a halt once she saw the inside of the gym. It was like a cave that had been expanded and stabilized for the purposes of the gym, without losing any of the natural wonder. A waterfall in the back led to a pool of water that no doubt drained underground into the sea. The caverns inside were high, leaving plenty of room inside for a gym… or in this case, for a rock climbing wall. A series of rock climbing walls, one on top of the other in some imitation of a tower. (She’d know, Johto was famous for towers.)

“He is so lucky I’m not afraid of heights instead of bugs,” she muttered, hands on her hips as she looked up.

Nearby, a man coughed to smother his laughter. She looked at him, and he gave her a shrug. “Gym Leaders,” he said as if that summed it up. And in a way, it did, and made this seem relatively normal as a result. She still made a face at him and walked over to see what all she needed. He helped slip a safety harness in white and grey over her hips (though she buckled herself), and slipped a white helmet on her head while she put her hat in her bag. “Do you know how to climb?” he asked, gesturing to the wall.

“It was part of trainer certification, though it wasn’t nearly this much of it,” she assured him, eyeing the long series of walls with unease. “Please tell me there are break-spots?”

“Of course,” he said with a grin. “You might have to battle on them, but there are plenty of breaks with water and benches to catch your breath at. We’re not completely insane. Grant got a little enthusiastic, but he’s also a fitness nut. We had to remind him what normal people are capable of.”

“Trainers are normal people?” she asked with an innocent flutter of her eyelashes. That got her a spark of laughter, and with a grin, she set the harness on the line and started her first climb. Like the helper had promised, there were ledges for her to stop at, whole paths even, and helpful mats that indicated where to jump down and unclip from the wall and move somewhere else in order to continue her advanced upward. Despite the seeming insanity of it, there was logic there. And it wasn’t that much different from the platforms and steps that were the inside of her father’s gym, so she really couldn’t complain too much. (And at least it wasn’t a spider’s web!)

The battles were against the techs who also served as trainers learning under Grant. Some were younger, like her, but there also a few of the hiking types who probably were around as much for the caves as they were the Pokemon battles. Kakashi, with a little help from Haruka, took care of them without breaking a sweat. Although, Evangeline wished she could say the same. She felt like she had to be dripping with it by the time she reached the top, sitting down on the ledge with a whoosh of breath at finally reaching the platform. A bottle of sports drink tapped her shoulder, and she took it with gratitude to sip it. “You do this every day?” she asked in disbelief as Grant sat down next to her.

“Most days,” he corrected her with a sheepish shrug. This close, she saw that this eyes were actually a clear, crystal blue. Interesting. He was twisting the cap to her drink around his fingers as if fidgeting. “Though I prefer if I’m climbing outside. But sometimes I have bike races, like today. Sometimes Viola calls up and I get be hassled into pictures for the day, for some reason I barely understand.”

“Been there…” she muttered, turning to look over the cavern pool and falls.

Grant snorted in amusement. “Yeah, Viola’s a character.” He looked up towards the cavern ceilings, where pitons held lights that shown down on his gym, carefully wired to case the least damage as possible and yet still be aesthetically pleasing. Additional steel beams insured that the roof was stable and not likely going to come crashing down on their heads. “As long as I can spend time with my Pokemon, I call it a good day,” he continued.

She smiled softly into her drink, feeling a bond with this gym leader that she hadn’t really felt with anyone else aside from Professor Sycamore since she reached Kalos. “Smart way to view your time, I only wish more people looked at life that way,” she said, and stood up. “Come on, let’s get to the battle.”

He smirked, offering her the bottle cap. “Not too tired?”

She took it from him, finding a smidge of bravery to tap him on the tip of the nose with it. “I don’t climb mountains every day, but you could say Gym battles are in my blood,” she said with sly smile.

The expression seemed to surprise Grant, who blinked and flushed before backing off to his side of the field. “Right. Amaura, let’s show her what we’ve got!” he called out, throwing out a Pokeball. His Amaura was a little bigger than Etienne, female, and full of confidence.

“Kagura, you’re up,” she said, releasing the Honedge. The Ghost-Type twisted in the air, singular eye blinking as she took in her opponent.

For once, the battle was a challenge. Grant didn’t just expect to blow past her defenses despite her type advantages, and he was smart with what he did. She ended up pulling back Kagura for Hikari to finish the fight against the Amaura. Grant grinned and tried to press his advantage with Tyrunt. Evangeline considered it a good head’s up for Xavier’s capabilities if he ever got the fossil turned around. She didn’t bother with games, sending in Kakashi to wrap it up.

Grant tucked his hands into his pocket as the battle ended. “Well, that was…” He shook his head and laughed, reaching out to take her hand. “One of the best battles I’ve had in a while!”

She grinned, accepting his hand. “Agreed,” she said. “I hope my Etienne gets to the same level as your Amaura. He’s still going through some growing pains.”

Ducking his head a little, Grant managed a sheepish smile. “Yeah, she gets enthusiastic.”

“Will you have to retire her soon for a new one? I know the fossils must make that difficult…” she asked curiously.

But then Grant looked at her oddly. “You know that Gym Leaders trade out Pokemon to maintain difficult?” he asked in disbelief. “Most people assume these are my personal team.”

Evangeline bit her lower lip. Oh damn. Damn, damn, damn. She got too comfortable, and a lifetime of knowledge on how to run a gym had slipped out. “I just assumed… I mean, Gym Leaders are professional battlers, you’d be able to outstrip someone who was just starting out if you didn’t try to maintain levels along the journey, right?” she asked, her voice weak.

“That’s the logic of it,” he agreed, his eyebrows still raised. “The League sets those across all the regions.” He snapped his fingers. “Oh, speaking of the League, you’ll be wanting your badge to prove your victory here in Cyllage.” Out of his multitude of cargo pockets, he pulled out the badge, pausing and flushing. “I know it isn’t the prettiest in the region. I redesigned it, but there are limits to the changes you can make.”

Accepting the badge, she twisted it around. “I mean, I can tell where I got it from,” she said honestly. “It reminds me of rock climbing, and of the beaches here at the same time. It isn’t as literal as Viola’s… But I think that’s a good thing.” It was a little more modern art, a little more classic. Plus, not going to give her nightmares.

Judging by his smile, Grant appreciated the praise for what it was. “If you want to climb down, I won’t stop you, but there is a skid path down, if you’d rather,” he said, pointing towards the other side of the platform than she climbed up. “It’s an easier trip, but watch out, its fast even going at a walk.”

She raised her brows at him. “You tried to ride your bike down it, didn’t you?”

He shrugged. “I was bored, and it was raining outside. Gotta keep the other Trainers jumping.”

Shaking her head, she laughed. “Take care of yourself, Grant,” she scolded, waving over her shoulder as she headed towards the skid path so she could head out.

Grant raised his hand to wave back, trailing to a stop as she disappeared from sight. “You too…” he murmured, his eyes lingering. Such a little mystery, that Evangeline. He recognized her pictures as Viola’s latest obsession, and he knew the media were trying to create a buzz around her. But they might have mislabeled her, too eager to cast her as the unknown talent. He wondered if maybe he ought to give Sycamore a call… Nah. Shaking his head, he smiled at the air. It’d be more fun to find out on his own.


NaNo 18, Day 2: Responsibilities

The reactions to the napping Spewpa went… about as well as could be expected. Kakashi was leery, but he put his trust in Evangeline. Most of the newer Pokemon didn’t particularly mind one way or the other. Kanna became a doting aunt to compliment the proud papa Henri, perhaps as part of her need to apologize for what happened to Cho. Ella and Hiromi weren’t particularly happy, but they still listened to Evangeline, so she could only hope it would get better with time with them. Haruka, of course, was just happy for another playmate, even if this meant he had to share his spots with her. And that left Felix.

The Charmeleon was very obviously sulking, and he growled every time he so much as spotted the new Bug, who Evangeline had dubbed Cerise. He also growled at Evangeline, which she tolerated–she wasn’t going to get on to him for expressing how he felt.

It was when his Ember attack came too close to hitting her, and she saw him glance at her to see what she would do, that she had to draw a line. “Felix, come here,” she ordered when the wild Pokemon ran off. He paused, and so did all of the others who were playing around her sleeping bag and the nearest flower bed. He made like he was going to walk in the opposite direction, and she added with a touch of steel to her tone, “I mean it. Come. Here. Right now.”

Growling, he stomped over to her crossing his arms (a much easier task than when he was a Charmander and his arms were so short). Rather than match him defensive posture to defensive posture, Evangeline put her hands on her hips and gave him a stern look. “You can be upset,” she said. “I understand, and respect that. You can vocalize this upset as much as you want and physically can, and again, I will respect that as long as it doesn’t turn towards bullying one of the others. But you do not get to attack me over it. Are we clear?”

His eyes grew wide in surprise. She didn’t back down. Felix’s surprise turned to anger, and he opened his mouth–the threat visible, the fire lingering in the back of his throat and sliding forward. “Kakashi!” she shouted, and the Frogadier slid up from the others to stand in front of Evangeline defensively.

Felix stared at them, smoke rising from the corners of his mouth. And then he turned around, collapsing into a sit with his tail wrapped around his legs, chin up mulishly in the air.

Evangeline walked around to the side, spotting the tears at the corners of his eyes. “Oh, sweetie,” she murmured, moving to where she could cup his jaw. “I know this is hard, and you are twisted up from losing Cho, not to mention evolving. But I can’t have you around if you are going to hurt me or the others. You evolved so fast, but there is further for you to go. You have to learn to control your impulses now, and I’d be an irresponsible trainer if I didn’t pull you up.” She wiped at his cheek to catch his tears. “You will always be my friend and a part of this team, Felix. No one is ever replaced. We just grow.”

He sniffled, pouting for just a few more moments. And then he reached out to wrap his arms around her waist, tucking his head into her stomach and bawling. Sighing and wishing for just a moment he was still small enough for her to pick up, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and patted his head. “It’s alright,” she murmured, promising as much as she could. “We’ll figure it out.”

The rest of their day passed much easier, and slowly Evangeline made her way back to Ambrette Town as the sun began to set. She reviewed where everyone was at, and while Cerise was far behind, she thought they had made enough progress today that she could press on in the morning.

When she expressed that to Nurse Joy, she clapped her hands. “Oh, you should spend the morning at the beach, before you press on to Cyllage City,” she suggested with a wide smile. “The weather will be absolutely perfect for a little fun in the surf, and it’s on your way. They even have little tents where you can change in and out of your swim wear.”

“The beach?” she repeated, confused.

Nurse Joy nodded and pointed towards the map. “Muraille Coast actually has two parts,” she explained. “The cliffs which you passed through to get here, and then if you go through the aquarium and down one level, you’ll reach the other half, a beach front road that goes straight into Cyllage.” She folded her hands in front of her politely as she added, “Our aquarium has an impressive collection of oceanic Pokemon too that you might enjoy seeing.”

Evangeline hummed. She still wasn’t sold on one singular type of Pokemon like her parents, who were either Fly or Die in the case of her father and under heavy regulations on his Gym team’s strength since he was the first on the Johto route, or Poison and the resulting tie to Bug-types, who Evangeline had developed a bit of a phobia about, like her mother and grandfather. (She was going to be the family disappointment, she just knew it. Bad thing since she was the end of both family lines.) But the aquarium sounded interesting, and would give her an idea of what was in the local waters. Kalos being such a different region, she doubted it was nothing but Magikarp.

It did make her feel guilty for not writing or calling home. With all her recent battles, she had plenty of coin for postage, and it wasn’t like the Pokemon Centers didn’t offer free wireless calling. She did some quick math. Both of her parents were workaholics–they’d be in their respective Gyms by eight a.m. It was an eight hour time difference, and it was going on evening here. If she called before bed, they’d be just getting up and feeding their Pokemon and themselves. Nodding slightly, she thanked Nurse Joy and set about getting everyone dinner for the night. (Lo and behold, Theo actually ate a smaller meal than normal after finishing off all of the berry pies earlier that day, and went right off to sleep from exhaustion due to training. Maybe she had him handled too.)

By the time it was all done, she’d braided her hair for the night and slipped into her pajamas. No one else was staying in town, so she felt comfortable padding out in her slippers to the computer terminal. Nurse Joy waved at her, but stayed behind the counter in case of an emergency. Evangeline shut the curtain of one of the computer/phone booths and logged in with her trainer ID. The system took a long time trying to set up the connection through to Kanto, but finally she was able to reach the Nurse Joy who was responsible for communication. “Call to Fuschia City Gym, please,” she requested. “For Janine.”

“Of course, and who’s calling?” she asked, hitting a few keys.

“Her daughter, Evangeline.”

“Putting you through now,” the Joy confirmed with a wide smile. “Your mother will be happy to hear from you, I’m sure!”

Evangeline managed a tense smile. She hoped so, anyway.

The line rang for what felt like forever, until finally it answered in her mother’s office. But not to her mother’s expression. Instead, a very harried looking camper picked up, squinting at the computer screen as his eyes still adjusted to the light of the lamp and screen. “Fuschia City Gym. Who is calling the boss at this ungodly hour?” he demanded in Japanese.

“Good morning, Barry-san,” she greeted him in the same language, smiling weakly. Barry had been one of her baby-sitters, the rare times she visited home after the incident.

He immediately straightened up as he got a better look at her. “Evangeline-hime!” he yelped. “I am so sorry!” He rapidly bowed several times in succession to the computer screen.

“It’s alright, I know the time difference is awkward,” she assured him. “I just wanted to check in with Mother. Is she already training?”

His face fell as he looked up. “Oh, I’m sorry again, hime. She went to go visit your honored grandfather in his mountain retreat for some bonding time. She was set to be back in a couple of days to check in with Aya-sensei.”

That lined up with what Evangeline had already known, she just hadn’t expected her mother to be gone in the days leading up to that call. Well, as far as her mother knew, Evangeline was safe and snug in Vaniville and hardly in any danger, of course she’d feel comfortable going on a trip. She smiled rather than show her distress to Barry, who certainly didn’t deserve it. “Alright, thank you for letting me know. I’ll try again in a couple of days, then. Give her my love when you do see her.”

“I will be happy to, hime!” he promised, and the line went dead.

Sighing, Evangeline restarted the connection, this time tracing it to the Johto region. “Violet City Gym, please,” she requested as a new Nurse Joy picked up the line. (And she could only tell the difference because the uniforms were slightly different between Kanto and Johto.) It was an old hat at her to make the same requests, just switching the names, although when she was younger she had gotten it muddled a few times. “For Falkner.”

“Putting you through right now,” Joy said cheerfully, and the call went through.

It took much less time for there to be an answer. “Violet City, Falkner speaking.” The man on the screen was stern of expression and clean shaven, having finally grown into a square jaw and narrow eyes. His navy hair hung slightly in his eyes in a style she was more than familiar with, though the bulk of the length was pulled back to the nape of his neck. He dressed in traditional clothes, only the sky blue of his haori visible, and his teal eyes were the same as Evangeline’s own.

She swallowed thickly and bowed her head slightly to the screen. “Good morning, Father.”

(AN: Blatantly calling out the anime and how they handled the Charmeleon/Charizard situation there…)


NaNo 18, Day 1: Cue Training Montage and an Unwelcome Surprise

Where to start was…a little overwhelming. When she’d first started this journey, she’d been able to bring a new Pokemon up to match the rest of the team pretty easily. But with a new Gym on the horizon, not only did she have to get her old team up to snuff, but she had to get five new Pokemon to their level to.

Evangeline decided the best thing she could do was break it up like her old situation as much as she could. Picking one of the new Pokemon at random, she built a supporting team of more experienced battlers around them. Then once the new friend was up to challenges on the same level as the older members, she could switch out one of the old guard for someone else. Kakashi grumbled next to her, leaning his head against her shoulder. “This looks like a lot of work,” he complained. “Nap instead?”

She shrugged that shoulder to jostle him. “No, no naps,” she scolded teasingly. “I know this down time hasn’t been necessarily restful, but we need to get going again.” It wasn’t just Evangeline who needed a chance to grieve the lost of her Vivilion, Cho, but the entire group. She was determined to ease them back into their journey, though.

“So, setting up a picnic spot?” Kakashi guessed. “Like you did outside of Santalune?”

But Evangeline shook her head. “No. We rushed down that last route so fast, I’m sure there are trainers who are upset that they didn’t get a chance to battle with us. We’re going to back track, taking on the trainers and wild Pokemon we missed last time.” She looked to him. “And I thought to go back to the river. The Pokemon are a little less…assertive, there, and that seems like a better way to ease the new ones into our style.”

He nodded slowly, crossing his arms. “Take it slow, if you need to,” he cautioned her. “We all understand, and would rather you be a little more protective than to lose someone else so quickly.”

“I will,” she promised, standing up. “Okay, let’s get the first team ready to go. I think I’ll keep Haruka with me regardless, he’s been a bit clingy lately.”

“Isn’t he technically a baby Pokemon?” Kakashi asked as they walked over to the computer.

Evangeline hummed. “Something like it, and I think his evolution is based off of how well cared for he’s feeling. Maybe that’s why he’s wanting to stay close to me. It can’t hurt to indulge him a little.”

So Kakashi, Haruka, Felix, Lars, Hikari, and Antoine came with her as the starting team. And the number of trainers she missed was a little staggering. That, or more had come out over the last couple of days. She couldn’t be sure which. Either way, her team gave it their all–even the newcomer Lars caught some of their excitement, even if he didn’t get as much action as Evangeline had hoped. But there was an infestation of Psyducks, and she wasn’t about to risk him against a Water-Type! (The cute little idiots sometimes pulled power moves at the weirdest timing.)

As a result of all the fighting, Evangeline was more than happy to flop down into a field of flowers. “Somehow, this wasn’t exactly how I planned for today to go…” she muttered. The blossoms fluttered around her, as if hearing her comments.

Wait, that was a lot more literal than she thought.

Sitting up, Evangeline blinked at the little heads poking out of the various flowers. “Oh, hello,” she said quietly to the group of Flabébé that surrounded her. “I’m sorry, did I disturb you?”

They giggled and spun around her a bit, shy but not aggressive. Tilting her head, Evangeline remembered that this was around the area that she caught her own Flabébé, one that she’d barely had a chance to meet. She reached for her bag, hitting the appropriate switch and letting Hikari out.

She blinked up at Evangeline in surprise. “Another battle?” she asked in her little voice, the petals of her flower wilting a little in exhaustion.

That made Evangeline feel better about her decision. “No, I think it’s some old friends of yours, but they seem shy.” She said, pointing to the surrounding group of Fairy types.

Hikari floated up to look and squeaked in happiness. She was off in the group before Evangeline could blink. Smiling, Evangeline also released a certain Frogadier.  Before Kakashi had a chance to disrupt the reunion, she flopped back down and pulled him to lie down beside her. “Okay, now you can nap,” she promised. “Just until we all have a chance to catch our breath. Then training time.”

He grinned, snuggling up close so he could lie his chin on her stomach. “Right, as much training as you want,” he promised. He grunted in complaint when she reached to let Haruka out too, but the little bud was all to happy to snuggle on the other side of her like a toddler for his own nap in the sunshine.

When they woke up, Evangeline lived up to her promise and ran her team through their paces. The nearby daycare had a computer that they let her use to shuffle the team along as they got tired, so she could get the others out to run their own paces. (Or in Emi’s case, give Evangeline a chance to learn how to curb her enthusiasm.) One of the workers suggested a nearby berry farm when Evangeline inquired if they had any sort of cafe or if she needed to go back to Ambrette or Camphier Town to visit their Pokemon Centers.

The path to the farm was a little narrow, so she wasn’t surprised she missed it before with Tierno and Trevor urging her to pick up the pace. The more common trees slowly gave way to an orderly grove, the trees short and squat. With numerous bug types leaping from bush to bush, sniffing the blooms…and eating any berry ripe enough to be plucked.

A little girl, her hair in pigtails, chased after them with a net. “Get away, get away!” she begged, waving the net wildly. “You’ll ruin today’s harvest!”

Evangeline just couldn’t sit there and wait. “Henri, come on out!” she called, throwing out his Pokeball. The Fletchinder came out with ease, and at the sight of the joint Fire and Bird type, the collection of bugs scattered. The girl stopped her running and spotted Evangeline. She waved and pointed to the base of a tree where another net was lying down. Seeing no harm in joining the fun, Evangeline grabbed it and joined Henri in his dash around the trees, swinging the frame to gentle rattle branches and shake out hiding Pokemon.

Including a Spewpa, who fell right into the net with a fearful squeal.

She acted first, thought later. “Oh shhh, sweetie,” she crooned, reaching in to pull the little thing into her arms. “It’s okay, shhh, it’s okay.”

Big ochre eyes looked up at her, and it sniffled. “S-sorry,” it–no, she, Evangeline had enough experience to know that tone was feminine for this species–whispered. “I’m just so hungry…”

It was like a fist squeezed around her heart. She tried to tell herself no. The rest of her team was going to be absolutely furious, see this little one as a replacement. Even if the personality was completely different. All they’d see was the same as their friend once was.

Henri fluttered over, perching where he could crane his head to see what she was holding. “You aren’t going to let her go hungry, are you?” he asked. “I mean, the others looked like gluttons. This one looks kinda scrawny…”

“No, no of course not,” she said quickly. “We’ll… We’ll share our lunch with her, how about that?”

He nodded, pressing his head against her cheek with a coo. She patted him gently so as not to accidentally burn herself, and carried her burden over to a nearby picnic table. There was a chalkboard set up near it, with a list of different prices for lunches (human and Pokemon friendly), and the nearby building had a sliding window that was open where she guessed she’d get orders.

“Hey!” the little girl said, running up to her while still carrying her net. “Wait right there, okay?”

Blinking, Evangeline could only nod in agreement. She took a seat nearby, Henri joining her and tickling the Spewpa, earning a series of quiet giggles. Well someone was bonding with the wild Pokemon. She eyed him in concern, but before she could argue, the little girl was back, carrying a huge basket that was probably used for the berry harvests, a cloth covering over it.

“Here,” she said briskly as she set it down. “Those Bug-types have been ruining the harvests for days now. If it wasn’t for you and your Fletchinder, we’d never have gotten them to go away. I talked to my grandparents, and they agreed.” She pulled back the cloth covering, revealing a veritable hoard of berry hand pies. “These are for you and your Pokemon. They keep pretty well for a couple of days even, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad if it takes you a while to go through them.”

Startled, Evangeline started to shake her head. “Really, you don’t have to try and feed us, we just saw you needed help–”

“And so has at least four other trainers who just turn around and leave, not realizing the bug population is too high so rather than helping pollinate, they are just being a menace,” the little girl argued, crossing her arms. “And I recognize you from Camphier Town gossip. Tell me you don’t have a Snorlax you are trying to keep fed. I dare you.”

Henri chirped in laughter, reaching in to grab a pie with his beak. “She has you there,” he said, almost swallowing it whole. “I know if we made a dent in Theo’s stomach, his handlers and the nurses would appreciate it.”

Evangeline groaned. She was out-numbered. “You and the others eat before Theo,” was her only condition as she pointed at Henri in a mock-threatening manner. “He can empty out the basket.”

He gave her a mock salute with one wing…and pulled out another pie. Rather than eating it himself, he reached over to dangle it in front of the Spewpa. Due to her lack of hands, it was obvious she appreciated the help in getting her own meal. Evangeline bit the inside of her cheek to keep from chiding him, getting her own pie to nibble on.

Only after the Spewpa was fed did Henri lean his head against her thigh, making his eyes as big as possible. “Can we keep her?” he whispered.

She stared down at him. “She isn’t a replacement for Cho.”

Ruffling his feathers, he rapidly shook his head. “Of course not! We… We can never replace her. But this little one needs us. Cho would never forgive us for leaving her behind, you know? Under that diva mask, she really did care.”

Sighing, Evangeline looked at the Spewpa who was starting to dose off in her arms. “Fine,” she agreed in a whisper. “But you get to tell the others.”

He winced, but nodded in agreement.

Cerise (Spewpa)


NaNo 17, Day 27: Team Flare, New Faces, and Closure

Thankfully, there was only one female Team Flare grunt down the mine shaft, both of her Pokemon easily defeated by Felix, to the grunt’s immense annoyance. She took off at a run in the same direction as the earlier grunt, especially when the Charmeleon sent a plume of flames after her.

Evangeline gave him a discouraging whap on the back of the head for it, but her heart wasn’t in it. After all, what would she have done if the grunt had decided that just because her Pokemon were defeated, she wasn’t done fighting? And he hadn’t been aiming to hurt. “Come on, let’s keep moving,” she coaxed him, turning away from the tracks and deeper into the cave.

The path curved around again, narrowing though not as badly as the earlier half of the caves. Perfect, though for two more Grunts to create a bottleneck.

Both gave her what they probably thought were model-esque poses, though honestly they just looked likely. The boy declared, “We’re Team Flare! We put the fashion into fear!”

Meanwhile, the girl just looked put-out. “We’re looking for fossils, but were discovered by a kid!”

What did they expect? The Fossil Lab wasn’t exactly making this place a secret. Evangeline narrowed her eyes, bracing herself for a fight.

“Evangeline!” Xavier shouted behind her, coming up at a run. He stumbled to stop, seeing the situation she was in. “So, there are two members of Team Flare this time…” He turned his head to look at her with an eager grin. “Are you ready to battle alongside me again, neighbor?”

This time, the suggestion also made her smile. These two grunts didn’t know what they were in for. “Yes,” she agreed.

“I just fought with another one of these Team Flare guys. They won’t stand a chance against us,” he declared, throwing out his first Pokemon: his Espurr. Evangeline joined him with Felix, and the fight was on.

Not that it was easy. Felix weathered the hits, but Xavier’s Espurr was replaced first by his Absol, and then by his Quilladin. In the end, they managed to get the necessary wins by the skin of their teeth. Evangeline bit her lower lip, though, through most of it, and made a mental note to mention to Xavier that he really needed to reconsider some of his battle choices. Using an attack that protected against special-type attacks didn’t do a lot of good when their opponents were using primarily physical-type moves.

Xavier stepped up, acting the part of the big hero. “If you’re just trying to make yourselves happy, I won’t stop you. But when you threaten people, it’s like who do you think you are, anyway?”

She rolled her eyes upward. Oh, that didn’t sound childish at all.

The male grunt looked over his appearance. “Oh man! My favorite, fashionable Team Flare suit is filthy!” He pivoted on his heels and took off down the mine shaft again, hopefully back whatever way he came.

His partner stomped her foot. “If we can restore fossils, we can make some good money!” she sulked, chasing after him. “The boss isn’t going to like this…”

Evangeline wasn’t particularly surprised. It took money to finance criminal operations of any sort, the question was what the big picture was. Shaking her head, she continued onward, just to be sure there weren’t any other grunts causing trouble for the dig assistant.

No one else turned up, except a gentleman in a white research’s coat. Xavier was behind her, and he craned his head to try and look around her. “Is he there?” he asked in a hiss.

It caught the research’s attention, or seeing movement out of the corner of his eyes did. “Why hello!” he said, quickly setting down his tools and turning around. “Here to look for fossils as well?”

She didn’t have a chance to answer, since Xavier stepped around her and immediately asked, “Was Team Flare here?”

Bless his heart, the research just tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Teemphlair? What’s that? A Pokemon?”

Xavier groaned. “Never mind…” he muttered. Evangeline covered her mouth to keep her giggles quiet. He gave her a sheepish grin. “Guess he was so absorbed with looking for fossils, he didn’t notice.”

The research clapped his hands together to get their attention back on him. “You two are very lucky you came upon me just now, you know. I just now found two fossils! But they’re both ones I already have, so I’ll give one to each of you. Do you want the Jaw Fossil or the Sail Fossil?”

“Jaw Fossil?” Xavier expressed interest, moving to get a closer look. Evangeline came behind him to look at the other, this Sail Fossil. It was beautiful and glistening, surprising her, as it seemed to reflect all the colors of the rainbow.

“So, the Sail Fossil for you, and the Jaw Fossil for you?” he asked both teenagers to confirm their selections.

“I’ll take this one,” Xavier confirmed, and Evangeline gave a quick nod, holding the fossil close.

The researcher grinned at them. “Wonderful. I’ll restore your Fossils and turn them back into Pokemon at the Fossil Lab! For now, I must return with these other samples. Hope to see you there!” Gathering up what he needed, he walked back down the path. She hoped it was safe for him now, and that between her and Xavier, they had managed to run any threats to those samples off.

Xavier shook his head, looking like he had a headache. “So, we went looking for the assistant, and we found that suspicious group called Team Flare as well…”

“I have a feeling that was more accidental than the Lab purposefully sending us in the way of trouble,” she pointed out quietly.

He nodded to show he agreed. “Still, with those Team Flare people running around, it would be better to train more so I can travel safely. I guess the best thing to do to get tougher is to challenge the Cyllage City Gym.” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes. “What about you?”

She took a deep breath. This had been a distraction, but Cho’s grief was still on her heart. Just not as heavy. “I think I’ll stick around here for a couple of days,” she admitted quietly, “Explore some of the roads a little better. I think I got so distracted with pushing ahead, I started making mistakes. Plus I have a lot of new Pokemon to learn about and train up. Cyllage is close enough, I might as well train for it here and then go to the Gym.”

With a nod, Xavier gave her an awkward hug. “Alright. Take care of yourself, alright? If you don’t catch up with us soon, I’ll come back and drag you along.”

She managed a laugh. “Alright. See you soon.” They parted ways, with Evangeline poking her nose around a little more while he hurried on. She had a feeling he had delayed his trip, just to make sure she was alright. There was a piece of amber that looked interesting. Evangeline pocketed it to take back with her.

The Rhyhorn from before was waiting for her, though thankfully not the rain. It even seemed to make him moderately more cheerful. She was relieved not to have to put on her raincoat again herself. Once she reached town, she stopped by the lab first, where the research assistant was already behind the counter and recognized her on site.

He also recognized the amber she pulled out while digging for her fossil that he had given her. Taking both, he disappeared in the back before she could stop him, making her frown. He came back with two Pokeballs. “Your Sail Fossil has become an Amaura, and that Old Amber actually contained enough scales from an Aerodactyl,” he said excitedly. “You can use the computer there, to free up slots for these two, if you need them.”

Startled, she did as he said, shifting her team around to take on her two new Pokemon. “Thank you,” she said with a quick bow of her head.

“You are more than welcome,” he assured her with a smile. “Best of luck with your new friends!”

She smiled and nodded, taking her exit, still feeling a little numb. Evangeline hadn’t expected to mean having this many new Pokemon when she mentioned them to Xavier! Back at the Center, she used one of the terminals to look through her box with a frown. Amaura, Aerodactyl, Sandile, Mawile…and Inkay. She took a deep breath, and took out all the new Pokemon, as well as Kakashi.

First, she let out her starter Pokemon. “Time to meet all the newcomers,” she told him. “Five of them.”

He tilted his head in confusion, counting off in his head and realizing who she was including. His face darkened a little. “If you let the one go, no one will blame you,” he said bluntly.

“I know they won’t,” she said, grimacing. “And trust me, I’m tempted. But I’m not going to judge it without meeting it first. Do you have a problem with that?”

Kakashi crossed his arms, considering. “I think I’m okay with it,” he said slowly. “The others might take longer to come around, but it’s going to depend on the Inkay’s personality, you know?”

She nodded, since that did make sense. “We’ll save it for last,” she promised, and reached for the first Pokeball. The Sandile was a serious little fellow who for some reason reminded Evangeline of a bouncer at a club. The first nickname she could think of was the same as one of her guards as a child who hadn’t been native to Kanto–Lars. Surprisingly, he liked it.

Lars (Sandile)

Next on the list was the Mawile. She seemed a little less sure of her surroundings, outside of the cave, but she raised her chin up rather than admit it. She took on the nickname Chiko, and rather than be recalled, she insisted on staying out to help Kakashi if any of the others ended up being trouble.

Chiko

Of course, that felt superfluous with the next one. The Amaura, despite its size, was shy as any story about wild Pikachu. But when she suggested finding him a new Trainer if he preferred it, he firmly shook his head and tucked his head into her body with a happy croon. “Awww, you’re just a big baby,” she cooed over him. “It’s alright, Felix didn’t talk much either.” Though with Felix being of Fire and this new Pokemon being of Ice, she wasn’t sure if they would actually be friends. She nicknamed him Etienne and let him return to his Pokeball.

Etienne (Amaura)

The Aerodactyl was the completely other side of the coin. She was bubbly and eager to meet her new friends, despite her size. When Evangeline offered her an apple, it seemed to cement their friendship. She chomped down on it and eagerly looked for me. Evangeline made a mental note to carry more food on her person for when she was carrying this Pokemon, who she dubbed Emi.

Emi

There was only one left. Chiko didn’t understand what was happening, but she stayed out with Kakashi in a fit of stubbornness, especially when Kakashi quietly explained what this particular Pokemon was to blame for. “It may have been an accident, but you never know how it’ll react to the news,” she said bluntly.

That surprisingly made her feel a little better about it. “Alright,” she said, “here we go.”

With a twist of her wrists, she released the Inkay responsible for Cho’s death from it’s Pokeball.

Immediately, it swarmed up to Evangeline. “Is that Vivilion alright?” she asked, worrying her tentacles. “It’s been a couple of days, hasn’t it? I didn’t know if you would ever let me out so I can find out, and none of your other Pokemon would talk to me about it…” She paused and muttered, “None of them wanted to talk to me period.”

Evangeline swallowed. “No, she wasn’t,” she admitted. “I’m sorry you were fretting.”

“And I’m sorry that it happened,” the Inkay said, deflating a little, her eyes big and watery. “I would understand completely if you released me back to the wild. Really, I don’t mind.”

If nothing else, that statement alone melted any lingering resentment Evangeline would have had. “It’s not your fault either,” she said. “It was… It was an accident.” Saying the words herself made it feel more real to her too.

The Inkay nodded a little. “Okay. I… I’m going to work really hard to show you, all of you,” she added after glancing at Chiko and Kakashi. “That I want to be on the team and I’m sorry I took someone away to do it.”

“Alright,” Evangeline agreed, and reached out to pat the Inkay on the head. “How about a nickname, hmm? A sign of approval to the others.” Thinking, she suggested Kanna, a name that meant white lily, as a sign of Inkay’s penance. She nodded in approval.

Kanna (Inkay)


NaNo 17, Day 26: Grief, and Learning to Move On

It was a long night. Evangeline couldn’t sleep, and her remaining Pokemon took shifts with her. The only one who stayed up the whole time was Kakashi, which spoke of how worried they were, if the one who loved nodding off stayed up with her. Even the new Fairy Type got in on the action, though Evangeline didn’t have the heart to offer her a nickname even in gratitude for the way she offered cuddles. Thankfully, Antoine and Haruka took over, using a computer to pull up a list of names that they thought Evangeline and the Flabébé could both like, settling on Hikari for the new little one.

Hikari (Flabebe)

The Meditite was trickier, but she also eventually came around during the odd hours after midnight. She fetched water and food for whoever was on shift, and while she didn’t know Cho herself, she realized how much she met to the Pokemon who had been on the team longer, listening to the stories that they quietly told each other. When asked, she admitted to having a nickname once before, given to her by a Trainer who had let her go after catching a stronger Meditite. Rather than change it completely, Henri was the one who came up with enough changes to it that she felt comfortable with it.

Stephanie (Meditite)

The Inkay never left the box.

Nurse Joy was efficient in the morning with walking Evangeline through the burial process. Due to Cho’s excitement when her wings came in, they decided to scatter the remains to the winds. Being on a cliff-side town just made it easier. Even if it was hard for Evangeline to stay standing the entire time. There was a neat little form that let her get an engraved plate for Cho to put on display.

Xavier found her around noon, playing with the plate of food Joy had set in front of her despite protests. “Hey,” he said softly. “Sorry about your Vivilion.”

She nodded to receive his sympathy, but didn’t feel like saying anything else.

He sighed as he sat next to her. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it really was an accident,” he said, keeping his tone gentle rather than trying to pick a fight. “Even the best of Trainers can have them.”

“It was going okay, and then…” Evangeline whispered.

“It went bad in a hurry,” he said with a sigh. “I’d hug you, but your Pokemon might hurt me. The Charmeleon in particular seems rather irritable.”

“Cranky teenager phase, can’t talk, doesn’t know how to express himself,” she muttered. “Felix means well.”

“They usually do.” Xavier sat opposite her and picked some of her food off of her plate with a spare fork. “I don’t know your grieving patterns, so what would you prefer? To be left alone for a few days? An escort home?”

She absently used her own fork to smack the back of his hand so he’d leave her lunch alone. Evangeline wasn’t completely sure about her grieving patterns, so how could she explain them to Xavier? Stalling for time, she took a few bites of the food, surprised to feel a little bit of energy returning. Maybe that was the trick. “A distraction?” she suggested.

He blinked, and leaned back in the chair. “Distraction, huh?” Xavier watched her eat a few bites, though whether because he was thinking or because he wanted to keep her from accidentally starving herself, she didn’t know. Tilting his head, he pulled out his map of the town and looked it over. “How about the fossil lab?” he suggested.

She craned her neck to try and look at the map. “They have one of those here?”

“Yeah, the mountains around here are full of fossils.” He let her look, pointing out where it was. South of town, obviously where she hadn’t gone already. “Let’s go check it out, see what they have going on.”

Evangeline nodded and turned to go figure out who to take with her on such a trip. She hesitated when she saw the Inkay still in the box. Maybe… Maybe she’d be able to deal with it when she got back. Due to the mountain climate, Evangeline pulled all her Water and Grass Types together, as well as Felix since he was feeling particularly clingy and you never knew when a Steel Type would show up. Henri and Kagura also insisted on coming along, rounding out the team.

They set out together, walking the streets. Evangeline had to tell herself that no one was staring. The lab was a grey building, oddly shaped but functional. They walked inside, where yellow tile floors tried to warm up clinical white walls, racks of fossil bones on display. Evangeline looked over them briefly weaving her way back to the main lab.

“Wait for me,” Xavier hissed when he fell behind.

“Then don’t get so distracted,” she hissed back, hoping her smile kept it teasing, despite how lackluster she still felt.

He sniffed and walked ahead of her, like that was really going to irk her. Rolling her eyes, she let him be the one who caught the attention of the two scientists. The woman seemed calm, but the man was excitable. “Welcome, future archaeologists!” he greeted. “You were drawn here by the mystique of fossils, no doubt!”

“Something like that. I’m Xavier, and this is Evangeline,” the male Trainer introduced them both. “We’re researching Mega Evolution. Do you know anything about it?”

“Oho! So you’re Professor Sycamore’s students,” he said, adjusting his glasses. Evangeline glanced at Xavier. Is that what they were? He shrugged back, just as confused. “I’ve heard about you. Mega Evolution, you say… I’m sorry, but all I know is that it has something to do with mysterious stones…”

It was a disappointing answer, but not unexpected. If the answers were readily available, the professor wouldn’t have them poking their noses into it all.

“Still, since you’re students of the professor, you must know about Pokemon fossils, correct?” the research asked eagerly.

“Yes,” Evangeline said with a nod. While she hadn’t ever visited the museums, she knew something about them. In fact, a lot of museums were having to argue to keep their fossils as just that rather than awakening them into Pokemon.

“Wonderful! I expect no less from Professor Sycamore’s students!” he said with a grin. “Fossils are the legacy of prehistoric Pokemon.” He gestured to the shelves behind him, which held some impressive skulls and bones but no complete skeletons. “You should really go to the dig site and see the real thing firsthand.”

Xavier nodded, trying to look polite. “Is that so? Well, if you don’t know anything about Mega Evolution…”

Evangeline rammed her elbow into his ribs, making him yelp and cutting him off before he said anything even more insulting.

The female scientist looked up from her paper work, glaring behind her own glasses. “Hold on! Pokemon that can be restored from fossils just might have something to do with Mega Evolution. The assistant in Glittering Cave right now might know about that!” She gave Evangeline a look, who just shrugged helplessly. She was Xavier’s friend, not his keeper, and she had no interest in being promoted, if you wanted to call it that. She also wasn’t going to throw him under the rug, not when he was being nice and distracting her like she asked.

“Well…” he said, tucking his hands into his pockets. “As long as I’m here, I guess I’ll go see that assistant.” He glanced at her. “Heading to Glittering Cave, Ladybird?”

Translation, was she up for the trip. Thinking about it, she nodded. Yeah, a trip to some caves shouldn’t be too bad.

Unlike her, Xavier hadn’t grabbed the right Pokemon for a mountain trek. He urged her to continue on by herself. She waved her hand to agree, and went ahead without him. Unfortunately, as soon as she stepped out of the main building, it started to rain. Swearing, she dug in her bag and pulled out her raincoat, slipping on the powder pink vinyl and tucking the hood over her hat just in case the wind picked up with it. Her boots were tall enough, she wasn’t too worried about her legs getting soaked.

The poor Rhyhorn waiting at the beginning of a rather hazardous trail, though, looked miserable. They shook some of the water running off their stone hides, grumbling under their breaths. A saddle was on each of their backs to make riding more comfortable, and there was a sign overhead indicating that the path ahead was only travel-able on Rhyhorn back.

“Excuse me,” she said, walking up to the nearest one. “Would you mind taking us on to the Glittering Cave? Or is the rain too big of a hassle?”

“Us?” he grunted.

“My team and me,” she clarified, pointing to the Pokeballs on her bag.

“Ah, a Trainer.” He stretched and shook himself as if waking up from a nap. She giggled and held up her hands to block the deluge of water being shed in her direction. “Don’t see too many of those, mostly the white coats. Sure, not a problem. We’re used to it.”

“Thank you,” she said, and eyed the saddle. She’d never ridden anything like this before, but the basics looked to be the same. Swinging up on to his back, she saw that there were hand holds up there instead of a singular horn or smooth front bump, so she’d have something to hang on to.

“If we run into anything wild, chase it off, yeah?” he said as he started on the path, the stones in his way having nothing to offer resistance to his weight.

She swallowed around a lump in her throat. “Yeah, okay,” she agreed quietly.

He grunted, and with a lunge, destroyed a boulder that had fallen in his way. She grimaced and held on to the straps tighter as his whole body shook in the process. This was going to be a lot of work, even if she wasn’t the one doing the walking.

The Rhyhorn wasn’t wrong about wild Pokemon. He stirred up a Sandile, making her cringe but Kakashi almost did all the fighting for her. The Frogadier actually hopped up to ride behind her as they rode when they stirred up another. With the third, she decided Fate was telling her something. With a sigh, she told Kakashi to hold up before he knocked the little brown lizard out. She’d stocked up on Great Balls, a stronger variant of a Pokeball, at the Center. It didn’t stand a chance. But rather than deal with it, she immediately sent the Sandile back to the computer. It could wait until she went back.

There was, of all things, a Pokemon Ranger waiting at the entrance to the cave. She quickly took charge of the Rhyhorn, offering him some food and shelter from the rain, and even offered to give some quick healing to Evangeline’s team before going into the cave. After what had just happened to Cho, she readily agreed.

The caves were dark, but dry. Evangeline took off her jacket, draping it over her bag so it could dry some while she walked. A dig in her bag produced her big flashlight, letting her watch the ground beneath her feet as well as above her so nothing would risk injury. She was expecting something like the roosting cave connection further north, but at least here towards the front, the caves were tight and twisting, with several dead ends.

And several wild Pokemon. Including a yellow and black Pokemon that curiously had two mouths–one on the normal face, a second disguised as a sort of ponytail. It was adorable, but fierce. She caught it with much more confidence than the Sandile. Her Pokedex identified it readily enough. “Mawile, the Deceiver Pokemon. Mawile’s huge jaws are actually steel horns that have been transformed. Its docile-looking face serves to lull its foe into letting down its guard. It can chew through iron beams.”

Shaking her head, Evangeline found herself actually excited to meet the new Pokemon addition to her team. The first Steel Type, and another Fairy to boot.

The narrow paths finally gave way to a much larger chamber. Looking around, she figured it had to be an abandoned mine of sort. That, or the fossil business required a lot more digging than she thought, and rather than dig directly into the mountain for it, they’d chose to expand on paths once they started hitting fossils. She wasn’t sure which was the truth.

She was distracted from further thought by seeing someone else among the reddish dirt and rock of the mountain side. Dressed in an orange suit with similarly dyed hair, he looked completely out of place. Especially with those orange sunglasses over his eyes! It was too dark for those, wasn’t it?

“What’s this?” he asked, walking towards her. “Well, well. What do we have here? A nosy little Trainer has come poking around.”

“Nosy?” she muttered, baffled. She hadn’t done anything!

He snorted and set his hand on his hip. “Listen up! We’re the fashionable team whose very name makes people tremble in fear: Team Flare!”

“Sounds like a Team Rocket spin-off,” she countered, taking a step back to brace herself.

“Ha! Those old has-beens? They overshot themselves.” He waved his free hand dismissively. “Who needs to rule the world? Team Flare’s goal is to make it so we’re the only ones who are happy! We don’t care one bit what happens to other Trainers or Pokemon.”

“That’s awful,” she told him, eyes narrowing. If anything, that made them worse than Team Rocket in her opinion.

“What do you know?” he dismissed her. “Get out of here, kid. Don’t you know not to play with fire?”

For her, there was no choice. “No, I’m afraid not,” Evangeline said, releasing her first Pokemon–Haruka the Budew.

He scoffed at her. “Getting my fancy suit dirty isn’t the stylish way to do things, but if you insist… I’ll obliterate you. Get her, Houndour!” he released his own Pokemon, a black and grey dog Pokemon that’s Fire typing was obvious.

The fight was quick and dirty. Evangeline traded Haruka out for Kakashi, at least to defeat the Houndour, but let him back out when it was defeated and replaced with a Zubat.

“What’s this?” the grunt said in protest, stepping backwards rapidly after his defeat. “You’re a pretty tough Pokemon Trainer, for a kid. But watch yourself! I’m not the only member of Team Flare around here!” He took off with a run down the nearest mine shaft.

Shaking her head, Evangeline frowned and looked to where the tracks led, trying to listen and see if she heard anything.

The only sound was her own Budew, asking quietly, “Evangeline? What are you going to do now?”

She took a deep breath. “I think we’re going to have to clear those Team Flare jerks out of this dig site, before they cause any real trouble.”

“As long as I don’t have to go up against another Fire Type,” he muttered, hopping up to be in her Trainer’s arms.

Evangeline carefully stroked the petals on top of Haruka’s head. “I’ll be more careful,” she promised. “Now come on, let’s see how bad it is…”


NaNo 17, Day 25: A Trainer’s First Mistake

Morning dawned too early for Shauna, who hid under her covers when Evangeline checked in on her. Sharing her pain, but unable to linger like this between gyms this long, Evangeline gathered up her team and left Camphrier Town. Without the Snorlax blocking the way, she was able to cross the river where it looped around from where the rest of Route 7 followed it.

Flower fields proved to be just as treacherous as tall grass. Evangeline was thrilled to turn up the same type of Pokemon that Dexio had mentioned: Flabébé. This one had a blue flower as its companion of choice, though while wading her way out of the fields, Evangeline ran into others on orange or yellow blossoms. She sent it to the computer box until she reached a new Center to meet it better, determined not to back track to Camphrier Town again.

She didn’t make it too far past the bridge before she heard familiar arguing behind her. Rolling her eyes in affection, Evangeline turned and waited for the duo to catch up with her.

Due to sheer height, Tierno noticed her first. “Oh, hey Ladybird!” he greeted with a wave. It made Trevor’s head jerk up from where he was resolutely watching his Pokedex, and give her a shy wave in greeting.

“Hey yourself,” she said with a smile. “What are you two doing out this way?”

With a jerk of his thumb, Tierno indicated to his smaller buddy. “Trevs said he wanted to check out the Pokemon Daycare.”

“Oh, is that around here?” she said, tilting her head and pulling out her map. Yes, it appeared so. Evangeline hadn’t had a chance to ever visit one of the ones in either of her home areas, but she knew about them.

“Yeah. Hey, come with us!” he invited. “You might like it.”

She looked at her Holo Caster and confirmed that she had the time. “Okay,” she agreed, and let herself be led to the Daycare. It was a quaint little cottage, with several pens full of Pokemon. The couple running it were kind, and Evangeline was quick to coo over the baby Pokemon who had just hatched from eggs, while other eggs were in incubators, waiting to be given to the Trainers they belonged to. She decided not to leave any of her team with them, but Tierno had a couple that he wanted to see if an egg came out. She could see his point, since some moves could be inherited, and might help him with his dance goal.

“Have you ever heard of Pokemon Coordinators?” Evangeline asked Tierno as they walked down the road. “I think you might enjoy it…”

He shook his head, looking baffled.

“It’s mostly a big deal in Hoenn and Sinnoh,” she admitted. “When I was deciding where to have my journey, I ran across it. They are called Coordinators. Maybe you should look into it, since I think your dance would be appreciated.” She grinned at him, hoping this gave him some encouragement. “You could even be the one who helps it catch on here in Kalos.”

“That… sounds like a cool idea,” he agreed, looking down at his feet. “I’ll have to think about it.”

She nodded and patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll have to do a lot more research, I just glanced through it,” she said apologetically.

He nodded, and seemed to be thinking about it. Evangeline let silence fall for a moment, content to let him have a moment. Trevor demanded her attention first, wanting to compare Pokedex to see who had seen the most Pokemon so far. It was his form of a Poke battle, so she didn’t mind. Unfortunately, whether because of bad luck or whatever the case was, she just barely beat him out. He seemed to be briefly disappointed, but bounced back, determined to keep working at it.

Painters challenged the trio all the way down the route, pausing in their work of painting the glistening river long enough for a break. For many, it seemed to refresh their inspiration. Trevor pointed out the Battle Chateau, but none of them felt up for entering it yet. Evangeline made a note of it for later, when she would need to train up her team before facing the Elite Four. They reached the end of the route, at least as far as the river followed it. And waiting at the carved-stone steps leading up was a familiar head of blonde hair fighting its way free of a green cap. Xavier waved at them as they all caught up together.

“Hey, how about a double battle?” he suggested as they met, bouncing on his toes.

“Bored with the painters?” Evangline figured out, making him grin at her sheepishly, like it wasn’t too big of a deal. She rolled her eyes and waved her hand, taking a step closer to Tierno. She thought they would be a good team against Trevor and Xavier.

“Okay, let’s battle! Tierno and Trevor, you’ll battle against Evangeline and me,” Xavier said with authority.

“Wait, what?” Evangeline said in bafflement, even as the other two boys shrugged and moved to stand opposite the other two.

Xavier gave her an innocent look. “I thought these would be good teams since you and I are neighbors.”

She bit the inside of her lip rather than say what she wanted to, which was call him out on putting both Gym-oriented Trainers against two more unconventional ones. No wonder Xavier was so deluded about being the best. She sent out Cho again, and while Xavier struggled by using both his Fletchling and Gus, they still managed to defeat both Trevor and Tierno, who looked decidedly defeated.

Xavier crossed his arms behind his back at the conclusion. “Everyone sure has a different approach to being a Trainer,” he said with a grin.

Rolling her eyes, Evangeline patted both of the other boys on the shoulder. “That’s right, and you two have chosen a different path. Trevor, why don’t you ask Xavier to compare Pokedex? And Tierno, we can talk about Coordinators more while they do that.”

Both boys perked up at her suggestions, but Xavier suddenly took a turn for the nervous. “Well, that was fun, but I guess we should head to Ambrette Town,” he suggested, pointing over his shoulder. Unfortunately, both of the other boys chased after him and began rough housing.

Evangeline wasn’t having any part of that. Shaking her head, she walked the rest of the way to a cave system that went through a smaller slope of the mountains. There were some hikers inside interested in a battle, as well as another wild Pokemon–a Meditite that joined the others in the box for now.

Exiting out, Evangeline covered her eyes to help adjust to the change in lighting, relieved to be out of the dark. It hadn’t seemed that long, but it was enough to make her uneasy.

Of course, she hadn’t made it three steps before…

“Stop right there!” a familiar female voice called out of nowhere.

Evangeline about jumped out of her skin, at least until Sina and Dexio came around from behind rock formations. “Oh, it’s you two,” she said in relief, putting her hand over her chest where she swore her heart was trying to beat out.

Dexio laughed awkwardly. “We didn’t mean to surprise you,” he assured her. “How are you and Kakashi doing?”

“We’re doing great. He actually evolved while we were in Lumiose City,” she said with a grin. “As has Felix.”

“Ah, the Charmander you took from the professor?” he confirmed. “Or rather, Charmeleon now. That’s really impressive.”

“Speaking of the professor,” Sina butted in, “Haven’t you wondered how a single Pokedex could possibly cover a region as big as Kalos?”

Tilting her head, Evangeline finally shook her head no. Most areas had only the one Pokedex, but if Kalos was that big, was that not going to be the case here?

“Well, it can’t,” Dexio admitted. “That’s why we are here to power up your Pokedex.” He held out his hand, and Evangeline agreeably handed over the device. They showed her how to navigate the screens from both the Coastal and Central listings, so she could toggle as needed.

Sina bounced in place as they wrapped it up. “New encounters help people and Pokemon grow. We’ll be taking our leave. Bon voyage!” She dragged Dexio behind her through the cave system. If Evangeline were to guess, they hoped to ambush the rest of her friends.

Evangeline set off through the tall grass, still giggling as she pictured Trevor’s excitement to the expansion. It was the only explanation she had for the way a squid-type Pokemon managed to get the ambush on her. With a squeal, she ducked to avoid it, watching it with surprise. How was it able to float around like that out of water?

There wasn’t time to check the Pokedex either. Reflexively, Evangeline threw out Cho’s Pokeball. The butterfly almost seemed to dance with her opponent. Evangeline cheered her on, guiding her through moves.

She wasn’t expecting the devastating psychic attack.

Pink and violet wings crumbled to the ground.

“Cho!” Evangeline screamed, running to the Pokemon’s side. The enemy Pokemon hovered overhead, making the Trainer grit her teeth. She had to get Cho to a Center, fast! She summoned her back to her Pokeball, hoping the stasis would hold her stable until Nurse Joy could see her. To get the Pokemon to leave her alone, she threw the first thing she found in her bag. A Pokeball. Evangeline ignored when the captured Pokemon was scanned by her Pokedex, already scrambling into her skates so she could run as fast as she could to the next town. Surely Ambrette Town was closer than Camphrier!

She jumped over mud ponds, tall grass, and rock formations, going as fast as she could. Her thoughts were a constant cycle of worry and despair, praying Cho could hang on, just hang on. Other Trainers jumped out of her way rather than forcing a fight. Evangeline had just reached a long series of steps going down when she heard a shout behind her.

“Hey, neighbor!”

“Not now!” she shouted back, raising her voice for the first time ever. She almost tripped, trying to get down the stairs, but thank God, she was in town. There was the Pokemon Center!

She stumbled inside, and was comforted by the nurse running out from behind the counter. “Please, my Vivilion,” she gasped, holding out Cho’s Pokeball.

“You did the right thing,” Joy assured her. “This should have held her long enough for us to do something.” She then bustled back behind the doors, and an emergency sign flicked on overhead.

Evangeline half-collapsed onto the nearest bench, her bag slouching down as she held her hands in front of her mouth, almost chewing on her fingertips despite how dirty they were. There were a couple of flashes of light, and then she felt Kakashi’s slightly webbed hands wrap around her shoulders. Hiromi settled on her feet, purring in an attempt to offer comfort. Haruka hopped into her lap, squirming to get to where she was situated right. “Is Cho gonna be alright?” she asked quietly.

“The nurse is doing everything she can,” Kakashi said softly. “Evangeline got her here as fast as she could.”

“I should have used someone else, or run,” Evangeline said softly. “Not when I didn’t know anything about it.”

“Cho was always eager to show off,” Kakashi said, leaning harder against her. “Don’t judge yourself so harshly.”

Evangeline managed a slight nod, her eyes fixated on the door. Vaguely, she heard Xavier walk in, and felt Hiromi leave. The fire-cub was obviously keeping him at bay while the wait continued for what felt like hours.

The light went out. Nurse Joy stepped out, removing a surgical mask and gloves. And seeing Evangeline, could only manage a sympathetic smile and shake of her head.

She raised her hands to cover her eyes, bursting into tears. The Pokemon beside her joined her in grief as they mourned their friend.

Cho (Deceased)


NaNo 17, Day 18: Exploring Lumiose and Beyond!

At the Pokemon Center, everyone was very quick to make friends with Felix. Henri fooled around, making jokes and being silly, enough to even get the quiet Charmander to give a little, breathy giggle. The Nurse Joy was very apologetic though when she explained that while they had Pokemon food on hand, most visiting locals preferred to visit local restaurants for their own meals. Evangeline wasn’t the least bit upset, and after the team was finished eating, bundled them all up in their Pokeballs so she could try one out.

Restaurant Le Nah was the only one currently open in the south district. Quickly, Evangeline figured out that the fashion in Lumiose was for there to be double battles before each course. Since it couldn’t hurt, and might even pay back the money she spent on the meal, she agreed. A few of the other diners watched the matches in curiosity, but most were too busy with their own. The food was decent, so she decided it wasn’t too big of a hassle.

What was really surprising was the conclusion of the battle before her entree. Kakashi and Felix had been handling things handily, but as the battle concluded, a familiar white light flowed over her Froakie. Startled, she left her food to grow cold and watched with wide eyes as he grew under the light, changing from being the size of a teddy bear to being the size of a medium-sized dog.

The light shattered into dust, revealing a dark blue, aqua, and white Pokemon that her Pokedex quickly identified as Frogadier. Kakashi twisted his head to look himself over. “Wow, didn’t see that coming,” he admitted, looking up at Evangeline. “Is this…okay?”

She smiled and reached down to hug him. “Of course it’s okay! You grew up a little, Kakashi, but you are still my friend, and my primary Pokemon.” Pulling back, she flicked his nose. “I may not be able to carry you around anymore, that’s all.”

Kakashi (Frogadier)

Rubbing his nose, he grinned and let Felix sniff him over while she finally dug into her food before dessert arrived. The rest of the evening was more uneventful, aside from Kakshi discovering there wasn’t room for him on the bed. He calmly gave his spot up to Felix, who obviously needed the physical reassurance, and settled down on a big pillow on the floor.

The next morning, they poked around in a few of the stores and boutiques, all of them awed by the selection. She even had a chance to get her hair a brief trim, though she’d had to say multiple times that yes, the purple was natural, and no, she wasn’t interested in dying it either. They ran into Shauna at a place called the PR studio, and Evangeline found herself bullied into making one once she was recognized thanks to Viola’s pictures (she knew she was going to regret those). One of her Pokemon was expected to appear in the video with her, and she quickly picked Kakashi as extra reassurance that she didn’t care about his evolution.

The make-up was bad enough, but then she found them styling her hair, pulling the heavy strands up so it curled around her shoulders and back rather than all the way down to her knees. Much like Viola, though, they found the bangs too stubborn to get out of her face. Shauna picked out a costume, though Evangeline quickly vetoed some options and insisted on others… Yeah, this was a mistake.

Screenshot 2017-11-18 18.47.55

Via Pokemon Trainer Creator vs 2 by  Hapuriainen

With all her heart, she hoped the end results wouldn’t be played on the huge screen featured in the square.

By the time it was all over, she was ready to grab breakfast at a cafe and leave before she had to see the end results of the studio. To her surprise, she saw Xavier lingering outside of one called Cafe Soleil. “Hey,” he greeted her, and then jerked his head in the direction of the cafe’s door. “Could you come here for a second? I’d like to talk.”

Blinking, she nodded her head and followed him inside. Like the name suggested, the cafe had a warm and cozy atmosphere, while still retaining the posh elegance that Evangeline was coming to accept as part of the Kalos region. But both stumbled to a stop at who they saw in the back of the cafe. “Oh, it’s Lysandre and.. is that Diantha?” Xavier mumbled, seemingly recognizing them both on sight. He glanced down at her, noticing the expression on her face. “Just so you know, Ladybird, Lysandre is the head of Lysandre Labs, which created the Holo Caster.”

Ah, not someone she wanted to be rude to. Great, and here she was hoping to avoid him if at all possible. She sighed and forced her face to relax into a more congenial expression.

Xavier nodded in approval, and added, “You already know who Diantha is too, right? She is one of the most famous movie stars in the world after all. I wonder what the two of them are doing here together.”

Evangeline bit the inside of her cheek so she didn’t reveal that no, she didn’t know who Diantha was. Her parents both were raised in staunchly traditional families, with heavy traditions attached to them. While her mother might have been more relaxed about it, Evangeline spent most of her time in Violet City outside of early childhood, and her father was, to quote Aunt Aya, a fuddy duddy stick in the mud about fun.

Any further conversation they could have had was cut off as the adults got louder. Lysandre tried to flatter the woman whose dark hair was close to being purple like Evangeline’s, “You played a young girl so wonderfully in your debut on the silver screen. Wouldn’t you rather remain young and beautiful forever and always play such roles?”

Diantha crossed her arms and shook her head, and even that seemed to be elegant, dressed all in white like she was. “What a strange question… Why would I want to play the same old roles forever?” she asked, freeing one hand to wave it while the other held on to her purse. “Youth may be beautiful, but it’s not all there is to life. Everything changes. I want to live and change like that, too. So I look forward to playing different roles as I get older.”

That wasn’t what Lysandre wanted to here. “You were chosen to be a movie star, correct? Isn’t it your duty to be ever beautiful? Everything beautiful should stay that way forever. I would make this world unchanging and eternal so all beauty will last forever.” The faked pleasant smile on his face faded to a hard look at the woman. “I can’t stand the thought of the world becoming uglier.” With a pivot of his heel, he turned to exit in a similar dramatic action as he had the lab lobby yesterday.

Only this time, Evangeline and Xavier were in the way. He paused, and put his charming-smile back on. “Oh, hello Evangeline,” he said, completely ignoring the teenage boy. It made Xavier bristle at the dismissal. To keep the peace, Evangeline managed to softly murmur a greeting back.

If he was put off by her shyness, Lysandre didn’t make comment. The ginger-haired man gestured behind him to where his prior conversation partner was still standing. “This is Diantha, one of the most accomplished movie stars in Kalos. She moves the multitudes with her excellent acting… Which is to say, she dedicates her life to making other people happy.”

He dropped his hand, but Evangeline didn’t miss how it almost clenched into a fist before he could stop it. Without thinking, she took a step to the side and behind a little, partially hiding behind Xavier. He quirked a brow at her, but didn’t call her on it.

“Oh! If only everyone were like her–what a beautiful world this would be!” Shaking his head, Lysandre gave them a nod of his head, folding his arm across his waist in a mockery of a bow. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.” He stepped around the two teenagers, and exited the cafe.

Sighing relief, Evangeline stepped from around Xavier. “Sorry, he just…” She shrugged, not able to explain it.

Xavier snorted. “At least he knows you exist though.”

She wasn’t sure that was much of an honor.

Apparently the movie star was done lingering in the back of the cafe, as she approached the two teenagers. She had plenty of height, her eyes a bright aqua blue. Her outfit was a little avant garde, but Evangeline thought the almost wing-like design suited her. “And who are you two?” she asked, sounding far more polite than she had with Lysandre.

It made Xavier brighten up considerably, to be asked by someone he obviously considered important. “My name is Xavier, and this is…”

“Evangeline, right?” Diantha cut him off with a curious expression on her face. “I heard Lysandre call you that. You seem to have caught his interest.”

“Now if only I knew how to lose it,” Evangeline grumbled.

They both were startled when Diantha gave a twittering laugh, but it helped relax them both a bit. “You both have lovely names,” the movie star said, working to keep Xavier included int he conversation. “Oh, and you’re both Trainers! How are things going with your Pokemon? Are they happy?”

“Yeah, mine are a cheerful lot, always eager for the next adventure,” Xavier said with confidence.

Evangeline shrugged when they both looked to her. “We’re a more subdued party, but I think we’re all getting along alright,” she said.

“Well, everyone’s Pokemon are different, so just by doing your best, you’re succeeding,” Diantha said firmly. “I’m a Trainer myself, in my off time. I look forward to us battling someday!” She leaned over and kissed them both on the cheek before waving good-bye.

Xavier held his cheek dreamily for a moment, making Evangeline giggle. That seemed to snap him out of his fog. “Hmm… I guess if you’re a Pokemon Trainer, you battle everyone, no matter who they are,” he said with a confident smile. “Someday, right?”

She gave him a droll look for dismissing Diantha like that. Just because she was a movie star instead of a Gym Leader or one of the Elite Four didn’t mean Diantha would be a push over. “Someday,” she agreed, “For now, lunch.”

“Huh? Oh, that’s right!” he hurried to keep up with her as she hopped in the line. Both of them ordered, and they took a seat at one of the little tables. He tugged at his blondish curls, obviously in deep thought. It was quiet while they ate, but just as Evangeline was about to bring it up, he said, “I have something to ask you, Ladybird.”

The violet-tressed girl paused in mid-sip of her coffee, setting it down slowly. “Well, that sounds ominous,” she pointed out. “You aren’t going to ask for my first born child or anything, are you?”

“What, no! Do they actually do that where you’re from?” he asked in disbelief.

Evangeline kicked his cafe lightly with the toe of her boot. “It was a joke,” she told him flatly. “Now come on, out with it.”

He nodded, rubbing the back of his neck. “Right. Well, would you be willing to compete with me to see which of us will become stronger?” She gave him a look, and he held up his hands to ward her off…even as he completely misinterpreted it. “I know we set off on our journey just after you arrived in Vaniville… But we were neighbors, and I think it would be fun to be in competition with you.”

She sighed. Why was everything a competition with him? One he thought he was owed, just like he thought was owed victory. Taking a sip of her coffee, she considered it. “Why me? You grew up with three other people who you could be competitive with. And Shauna is just as interested in Mega Evolution as we are.”

He gave her a look. “Shauna had a type advantage and still lost in battle with me. They always have. But you seem to be doing pretty well, getting plenty of attention from professors and Gym Leaders.” There was just a faint bit of bitterness to his tone.

Biting the inside of her lip, she decided it wasn’t worth pointing out that Professor Sycamore was interested in her because of who her parents were and how she was flaunting both of them, and Viola had just thought she was pretty. It wouldn’t do any good. Lysandre’s snub and the professor’s seemingly preferential treatment were getting to Xavier, who was used to being the natural choice. Now that he had competition, he wanted to make it official for whatever reason.

“Fine,” she agreed with a sigh. “As long as it doesn’t go too far, I don’t see why we can’t be rivals or whatever it is you are wanting. But only as long as it stays friendly.” She glowered at him over her coffee mug. “If it gets personal, I’m done with it.”

He smiled, obviously relieved at her agreement. “Great. I’d better get started then.” He picked up his trash to leave, and added over his shoulder, “Just so you know, I won’t lose.”

Rolling her eyes, she leaned back in her chair and waved good-bye to him. She didn’t care who won or who lost. That wasn’t the point of her little journey. But if it gave him a goal to work towards, fine. She wasn’t going to let it ruin a good cup of coffee.

She eventually had to leave rather than risk spending another day there. The sign for Route 5 was over the tunnel, thankfully not in any of the other districts. Per her map, it was the fastest way to Camphier Town.

A chime came from her wrist just as she finished strapping on her roller skates. A holo clip? She flipped open the screen and hit a few buttons to navigate towards the new message. Thankfully, the frequency was one that was in her contact list. Now that she knew Lysandre owned the labs that created the Halo Caster, she worried that he had a master list to dig for her info.

Tierno’s face and torso popped up as a holo in front of her own face, scanned from when he took the message. “Hey, Ladybird!” he greeted, waving his hand. She giggled, and refrained from waving back. A holo clip was like a text message, so he wouldn’t be able to see her. “So, check this out!” he said in excitement. “I’m out on Route 5 right now, and it’s just hopping with wild Pokemon! Hurry and come check it out. Trevor and I will wait for you.”

Huh, they must have left earlier than she had. With a grin, she closed the message and finished slipping on her skates over her boots. Route 5, here she came!


NaNo 17, Day 6: Route 2 and Enter Ella!

Backtracking across Route 1 and the south end of Aquacorde Town, Evangeline didn’t linger. Down the steps, she found that while the town didn’t have a Pokemon center, it did have a strong shipment of Potions. So much so they gave away a free sample on the streets!  She stocked up while she was here, and also found a woman who offered to heal any of her Pokemon. Evangeline made a note of where she was, in case the road ahead ended up being more dangerous than expected. Another store held some basic Pokeballs, and she grabbed five of those too, hoping that would be enough to get her through to the next town with more selection.

Across the bridge, brown coble stones and brick gave way to grass again. Route 2 was noted as the Avance Trail. She waded through some of the taller grass, only to freeze at a rustle. Evangeline reached for Kakashi’s ball, waiting to see if she was right as she walked carefully.

A burbling cry came from the patch of grass, and a brown-striped Pokemon zipped out. Her Pokedex chimed, registering the new Pokemon. “Zigzagoon,” a female, robotic voice said from the speaker. “The Tiny Raccoon Pokemon. It walks in zigzag fashion. It’s good at finding items in the grass and even in the ground.”

“Alright, Kakashi, let’s go,” Evangeline said encouragingly, throwing her Froakie’s Pokeball.

It snapped open, allowing Kakashi to emerge out of light. He hopped a couple of times, eager to go. “Just tell me what to do!” he agreed.

The following battle was quick and dirty. The raccoon-type had speed on Kakashi, but Evangeline encouraged him to be patient and be steady in his attacks. In the end, they whittled the Zigzagoon’s health down, and she pulled out a new Pokeball, throwing it towards their opponent. It snapped open, red light gathering the Zigzagoon in to trap it inside. The ball wiggled from side to side, the wild Pokemon fighting its new home.

Kakashi waited, tense. Evangeline kept her eyes on the ball, moving her bangs out of her eyes with her hand. It wiggled once… twice… three times… And then the red button in the middle turned to white, and the wiggling stopped.

Squealing in delight, Evangeline did a fist-pump and then darted over to sweep up the new ball. Kakashi hopped behind her, cheering. Her first time capturing a wild Pokemon, and with her new partner! She gave Kakashi a hug. “Good job,” she told him. “Now, how about we meet our new buddy?” He nodded, and she pushed the button to let the Pokemon back out.

The Zigzagoon shook itself, resettling its fur. “Wow, you’re good,” it muttered, the high pitch of her tone leading Evangeline quickly to the conclusion that it was a female. “So now what?”

“Well, now you’re a part of the team, if you want,” Evangeline said, holding her hand out. “Otherwise, I’ll let you go so you can go be with your friends here.”

Tilting her head, the Pokemon took her seriously, and then butted her head into the palm of the new Trainer’s head. “I’ll come along,” she agreed.

“Good, I’m glad,” Evangeline said, patting her head and smoothing down the fur. With a giggle, the tiny raccoon rolled over and wiggled, tickled but enjoying the attention. “Hmm, how about Ella for a name?”

“I like it,” she said, hopping up. “Now, let’s get going!”

Laughing, Evangeline stood up. “Alright, alright. Onward we go!” she said, holding out the Pokeballs for both Pokemon. Her hands shook a little as she clipped them back into place on her bag. She could hardly believe it was going so well already!

Ella (Zigzagoon)

She didn’t run into any other Pokemon in the tall grass, and breathed out softly as she returned to the road. Her walk, though, was interrupted by a familiar head of pigtails. “Shauna?” she said, wondering how she had caught up with the other trainer.

Whipping around, the girl waved. “Oh hi Ladybird! Come learn how to catch Pokemon with me!”

“Huh?” Evangeline managed to get out, but it was too late. Shauna reached out and snagged her wrist, pulling her along to the next patch of tall grass. Xavier was already waist-high in it, looking around carefully.

Shauna bounced next to Evangline, finally letting go of her wrist. If only because she raised her now free hand as if to hide the fact she was talking. “Xavier’s mom and dad are amazing Trainers. That’s why he knows so much about catching Pokemon and battling,” she said in a very loud whisper.

Loud enough that Xavier heard them. He looked up and shook his head with a rueful smile. “Well… Mom and Dad may be good, but that has nothing to do with me,” he said. But Evangeline heard the pride in his voice, the confidence. She wrinkled her nose at him. He looked towards the right, hearing or seeing something they didn’t. “Okay, now watch carefully you two,” he ordered.

“But…” Evangeline tried to protest, and finally just blew her hair out of her eye for a moment in exasperation when she realized they weren’t listening to her at all.

A Bunnelby hopped up to Xavier, who immediately released… a Fletchling? Huh, looks like Xavier had already been busy. Evangeline rested her chin on the palm of her hand, elbow balanced on her other wrist, as she tried to remain patient and polite during a tutorial she didn’t need. It was nice of them, she guessed, to assume that she needed the help. Maybe because it was obvious Shauna did need the extra instruction that the felt Evangeline did…

“Wow, the Pokemon went inside the Pokeball?!” the pigtailed girl shouted once Xavier had finished his demonstration.

Evangeline adjusted her hand so it hid her face so her expression wouldn’t hurt Shauna’s feelings.

“Shauna…” Xavier sighed, sounding exactly like what Evangline felt. “What do you think your Chespin is inside of right now?” He waded back out of the grass, ruffling the top of her hair as she pouted. “Here, I’ll share some Pokeballs with the two of you.”

“Pokeballs!” Shauna squealed, instantly perked up.

Evangeline was shocked to have a full box of ten pushed into her hands too. “You don’t have to do this,” she told him quietly.

“Consider it a house warming gift,” he said back quietly. She gave him a shy smile back, warming to him a little. And then he ruined it. “Besides, you’re new around here. Isn’t it the job of the more experienced trainer to help out?”

She bit the inside of her lip to stop herself from snapping at him.

Thankfully, Shauna’s innocence to the rescue. “Do you think I can catch Pokemon with them too?” she asked, holding the collection of unused devices like they were sacred.

“Sure. You can catch the Pokemon around here just be throwing a Pokeball near them,” Xavier said with a lazy wave of his hand.

Evangeline shook her head, disagreeing. They were just starting out, but the wild Pokemon were no slouches. Unless it was a very weak Pokemon, she doubted any of them would stay in a Pokeball without anything on their parts being done. He’d even said so during his little tutorial, hadn’t he? She was pretty sure… But then again, Shauna was the one who ran straight into a battle as soon as she got her starter Pokemon, so maybe she’d figure it out for herself.

“Okay. If I find a cute Pokemon, I’ll throw lots of Pokeballs at it, and then we’ll become friends!” Shauna said with a determined nod.

Evangeline rolled her eyes upward for a moment, and let Xavier handle her. “When you catch a wild Pokemon, it makes your Pokemon stronger, too,” was what he left it at. “Good luck!” He waved his hand and went on ahead. Shauna waved at Evangeline too and took off after him.

“It’s not like we’re going to part ways,” Evangeline muttered. The road was pretty straightforward. She decided it wasn’t worth running after them, and it let her have some peace and quiet. There was more tall grass to wade through, stirring up an aggressive Pidgey who took off after Kakashi sprayed Bubbles at it.

A sign outside of a tight grouping of trees with only one road into it warned her that she was about to enter Santalune Forest. She checked the map and saw that it was the only way through, and the paths tended to twist around. Warned, she started towards the entrance.

Another trainer was lingering outside, and flashed his ID at her as soon as they locked eyes. “When two trainers’ eyes meet, a Pokemon battle must begin!” he said with authority. “My name is Austin, and my Pokemon and I are going to defeat you.”

Evangeline took a step back, “Alright,” she agreed to the battle, letting Kakashi out of his Pokeball. He released a Zigzagoon, one that seemed slightly stronger and faster than Ella. It still didn’t stand a chance, not with Evangeline’s strategy of consistency and patience.

“You should’ve told me you were that strong!” Austin protested, reluctantly forking over the reward for his defeat.

“You didn’t exactly give me a chance,” Evangeline pointed out as she pocketed the change. She scooped up Kakashi to carry him away from the battle sight with a wave good-bye to Austin.

He looked up at her. “People really don’t give you a chance to say much,” he pointed out.

She shrugged back at him. “I get used to it. Hey, how about we let Ella handle any of the wild Pokemon we run into in here, give you a break and give her a chance to train up?”

“I could use a breather,” he agreed. “Besides, if anything in there is a Grass type…”

“You’re sunk,” she said knowingly. “So Ella is in charge in the forest this time. Do you want to chill in your Pokeball or out here?”

“Inside, please,” he said, and she put him away so he could rest like he wanted. Then she adjusted her bag’s strap. Her strongest Pokemon was officially a bad choice at least until she cleared the trees. Ella and her were going to have a crash course in bonding. All Evangeline could hope was that the Bugs didn’t swarm her. She might run back to Aquacorde Town screaming.

(As a note: I missed Days 4 and 5 on purpose. I had an all-nighter event this weekend, and I knew I was going to be too busy/exhausted to do much. Even today, I only wanted to get through Route 2.)


NaNo 17, Day 3: First Battles and Letters Home

“Alright Kakashi, let’s try a Bubble attack,” Evangeline said, looking between the two Pokemon. This should be easy…

“Right!” The frog Pokemon took a deep breath, and blew out. The stream of bubbles wasn’t the fastest thing ever, but they still forced the Fennekin back a few steps with a cringe.

“Li’l Fen, use Tail Whip!” Shauna shouted, throwing her fist up in the air.

Evangeline rested her hand on her hip as she watched Kakashi stumble back away from the so-called attack. Really? Battle-debut with that move? She grinned. “Kakashi, use Bubble again!” she said confidently. If she judged things just right, she knew what would happen.

With a hop to get air, Kakashi blew out another stream of bubbles, and this time, the Fennekin had no where to back away from it. It gave a distressed yip, falling to its stomach and refusing to get back up. At this obvious sound of defeat, Kakashi ran up to Evangeline. She knelt down to greet him, immediately pulling him into a hug. “Good job,” she congratulated, even as Shauna called her Fennekin back to its Pokeball once sure it was going to be okay, at least till they could get to a Pokemon Center.

“Hey!” Shauna protested, catching their attention as she stomped her foot and pouted. “I wasn’t done watching my cute Li’l Fenn when you beat me!”

“Sorry?” Evangeline said, glancing down at Kakashi. He shook his head, and she agreeably pulled out his Pokeball so he could rest inside. Away from the incoming drama fest.

“It’s all right…” Shauna said, kicking the ground. “I guess I just got too excited…” She held out her hand, containing some of the coins they spent around her. It was custom that after a battle, the loser offered some reward to the winner.

“No hard feelings?” Evangeline checked as she accepted the coins, slipping them into her back pocket for now.

Shauna shook her head hard enough that her pigtails slapped around. “No hard feelings. You were amazing, Ladybird!” she assured with a sheepish shrug. “I’ll let you go, say hi to your mom for me!” She waved and ran back in the direction of the courtyard.

Sighing, Evangeline shook her head. “She’s not my mom,” she muttered, and turned to walk back down the Pathway towards Vaniville Town. It was just as peaceful as last time, and she still thought the gardens were pretty.

Vaniville was still the quaint little suburb it had seemed last night, with villagers talking among each other. She hoped Aunt Aya hadn’t been walking on the garden walls again… Back at the school, it didn’t raise any eyebrows, but here? The gossips would have a hay-day.

Nidoqueen was thankfully asleep in the front garden, so Evangeline made sure to be extra-quiet on her way back inside. She leaned against the front door with a relieved sigh as soon as she was safely indoors. Which of course, immediately got her great-aunt’s attention. “So, what did you and the neighbor kids end up doing?” she asked, from the couch.

“Not a whole lot,” Evangeline hedged, walking towards her nervously.

Unfortunately, Aunt Aya’s eyes were still sharp, even at her age. She stood up immediately opposite of Evangeline, taking her in from head to toe, before focusing on the new addition to her bag’s strap. “Wait one second! Is that a Pokeball you have there?”

Sheepish, Evangeline managed a quick nod, clutching at her bag strap. She knew what everyone else would be immediately asking. What type of Pokemon was it, whose footsteps was she following in, etc.

But not Aunt Aya. There was a reason she was Evangeline’s favorite relative. “You got your very own Pokemon!” she squealed in excitement, pulling the teenager into a tight hug. “You’re a Pokemon trainer now, too. Congratulations!”

“Thanks, Aunt Aya,” Evangeline said quietly, returning the hug with all her might.

“You are more than welcome,” Aunt Aya said warmly, pulling back. “Now, can I meet your new friend?”

Nodding, Evangeline clicked the button on the Pokeball, opening the lid so the beam of light could flash out. Kakashi landed on the throw pillow with a thump, and while he looked startled at first, he immediately relaxed. “Oooh, I like this spot…” he said sleepily.

“Don’t fall asleep now, Kakashi,” Evangeline teased. “You need to meet my great-aunt.”

“Huh?” Blinking, he rubbed at his eyes and sat up. “I thought we were taking a letter to your mom?”

Evangeline shook her head. “No, the letter is for Aunt Aya.”

“Huh? A letter for me?” Aunt Aya pointed at herself as she blinked in surprise. Evangeline reached into her bag and pulled it out to hand to her great-aunt. Aunt Aya spun it around in her hands, looking at it from every angle before opening it. “It says it’s from somebody named Sycamore. What could it be?” Her eyes closed to half-mast, and she hid her lower face behind the envelope. “A love letter?”

“Aunt Aya!” Evangeline whined in embarrassment, covering her own face with her hands. Kakashi started to laugh.

“Wow, what lovely handwriting…” Aunt Aya wasn’t deterred in the slightest, holding the envelope up to her forehead with a dramatic pose. It also revealed the mischevious smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

Evangeline whacked at her arm, making the smile turn to full-on laughter. “Aunt Aya, it’s from the local professor!” she said, fighting her own laughter to try and be serious. “He meant to contact Mom or Dad, but since everyone is assuming you are my mother…”

“Ha, like you’re old enough to be mine,” Aunt Aya teased, but at least stopped carrying on like it was a letter from an admirer. “No, poor Professor Sycamore didn’t know he’d have to call all the way to Violet City or Fuchsia City to reach your parents. Let’s see what he has to say, hm? Since I am their stand-in.”

“Only because Mom is paranoid,” Evangeline muttered, flopping down to sit next to Kakashi.

Without even needing to look away from the letter, Aunt Aya gave her a whack to the head. She also ignored Evangeline’s hiss of pain, talking to herself as she read, “Hmm, what do we have here? A request… Oh, I see!”

Folding the letter with a firm nod, Aunt Aya took a pose that Evangeline was far too familiar with. Groaning, she pulled the brim of her hat down. “Oh boy, here we go…” she mumbled. “Brace yourself.”

Kakashi tilted his head. “Huh? What do you–”

“Evangeline!” Aunt Aya barked, fire in her eyes. “We’ve barely unpacked, and all kinds of exciting things are happening! Okay, let’s get you and Kakashi ready for your journey!” She ran to her room, and immediately started yelling out as she found things in what she considered a standard kit.

“Come on upstairs to my room so I can pack for real,” she whispered at Kakashi. He grinned and hopped behind her upstairs.

It was much less work to pack, and more effort to assure her aunt that no one carried throwing stars in Kalos, or many other things that Aunt Aya tried to push on her. Sometimes, it was so obvious that her great-aunt never left the school for a journey of her own. Her sleeping bag attached to the bottom of her shoulder bag, and everything else was in easy access.

“Here you are, Evangeline,” Aunt Aya brought one last little gift upstairs. Before Evangeline could protest, she added, “Your mom specifically asked that I made sure you had it. She packed it herself!”

That pulled her up short. Curious, Evangeline opened the white plastic case, and managed a small smile at the carefully organized innards. She felt oddly touched by her mom’s thoughtfulness. This time, she packed Aunt Aya’s offering in the medicine pocket of her bag. “There, that should be it…” she said, zipping up the various pockets.

“My, what an unexpected turn of events,” Aunt Aya said with a sigh, looking around the room. It wasn’t the most decorated of places, with them just having moved, but there were still little signs that it belonged to the teenager. Pictures and posters, mostly. “I can hardly believe it,” she continued when Evangeline didn’t say anything. “You made friends. You met your Pokemon. And now you get to take a lap around Kalos.”

“It’s everything I’d hoped to do here,” Evangeline admitted, and then laughed a little. “If faster than what I planned. I can’t wait for Dad to call to check in next week and you tell him I’m already gone.”

“I can,” Aunt Aya drawled. “Oh and don’t forget this, I picked it up for you at the store earlier.” She held up a paper version of a map. Evangeline took it and unfolded it, revealing to be a complete map of the Kalos region. She reflexively looked to the wall, where scattered among the wall hangings was a world map, as well as up-close maps of both the Johto and Kanto regions. Yes, she definitely needed the update.

Aunt Aya wasn’t done yet though. She put her hands on Evangeline’s shoulders, forcing her to look up at her. Her eyes were completely serious, almost contradicting the gentle smile on her ruby lips. “I don’t know what this Professor Sycamore wants you to see on your trip, but taking a journey with your Pokemon is really a wonderful experience. Enjoy it, okay?”

Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Evangeline managed a quiet nod. Her aunt pulled her in for one last hug, and then gave her a push towards the stairs. With a wave over her shoulder, Evangeline took off down them, hearing Kakashi catch up with her and jump up on to her shoulders, paws on her hat so he could leverage himself a view up. Rather than call him down, she just laughed her way out the door.

They barely made it three strides, and big, dusky blue arms were picking her up in a hug. “Evangeline!” Nidoqueen sobbed, giving her a bear hug as she swung the human around. “I can’t believe you are leaving on your first journey!”

“I’m going to miss you too,” Evangeline said awkwardly, patting the arm holding her tight. “Down, please.”

“Hahaha, what a card!” Aya laughed from the doorway. Reluctantly, Nidoqueen set the human teenager down, wiping away the big tears at the corner of her eyes. Aya walked up to her Pokemon, patting her on the elbow. “I guess Nidoqueen wanted to give you a big send off for your journey. Well, she has known you since you were born, after all.”

Evangeline pulled the frazzled Kakashi into her arms. “It’s alright,” she said with a smile, giving her aunt a bow in the style of their homelands. She then turned and ran out the gate.

Regardless of propriety, Aunt Aya followed her out the gate to stand in the street and yell after her. “Good luck, Evangeline. Go for broke, and don’t worry! You’ll have Pokemon by your side, so you’ll be fine!”